Insane

January 25, 2012


He loved you until
the romantic winds blew his stilted heart
in the direction of someone
younger
prettier
different
someone he will spend all your time with
a new drug
with less side effects
no blame he said like that makes it better
for whom?

And you tell me you’re ready
to love again
like a dog is ready to run
headstrong into oncoming traffic
struck lifeless
and I tell you you’re insane
insane, I say

Insane.

As Freud Would Say…

January 24, 2012


In 2005, I finally took my Christmas Tree down just before the deadline for taxes on April 15th. Yes, it had been up for four months. I think I was attempting to extend the Christmas season through February and March until Spring arrived and with it, the crocuses and daffodils – my multihued assurance of a resurrected life. For me, Spring flowers are that promise.

My mother died that year in the early morning hours of December 26th. I spent that Christmas Eve by her side, watching her chest rise and fall with diminishing breath, the morphine having done its job to eradicate her pain. I spent Christmas Day, watching the color of her skin change from pink to pallid gray as her life slowly ebbed, then ceased. It seemed as if I breathed in and when I breathed out, she was gone. Her death was like her: a gentle whisper, a hush. I could almost see her hooked arthritic finger poised in front of her lips, gently reproving my grief with a, ”Shhhhh…it’s OK.” It was 2:10 am and the vigil was over.

Death is a busy thing. There are people to call, documents to peruse, bills to pay, arrangements to be made; all of it done in a state of mind that would resemble catatonia if it weren’t for the sobbing spasms that grip your gut and pitch your body into contortions at the most inappropriate times. Her dying had been the focus of my life for close to a year. Her dying had become my life. Now that she was gone, I stood there in the empty house and didn’t know what to do with myself anymore. And so I did what anyone else would do under the circumstances: I checked the water level in the Christmas Tree stand. It was empty.

Seven feet of Scotch Pine laden with hundreds of lights and tens of ornaments, requires frequent hydration. It’s a thirsty organism and this one had been, understandably, neglected. I filled the teakettle with tap water and poured it into the base of the tree, then because I had been awake around the clock for days, tried to get some sleep. The next morning I checked the tree again and noticed it had already consumed the water from the day before. I watered it again and kept watering it until the days turned into weeks, December turned into January, January into February, February into March and March into April. For some reason, I couldn’t allow the thing to die. I needed to keep it alive.

The tree had become my mother.

I don’t know what Freud would have to say about that, but most of my friends thought it strange, as did my family, as did my co-workers and anyone else who happened into my living room where the tree stood, dwarfing my furniture. Some asked me outright, what it was still doing there. Some pretended to ignore its existence, as if to mention it would disturb my fragile relationship with reality. Others found it eccentrically interesting, like pasting shoes to one’s forehead would be interesting. Still, some found it fun.

As the first crocuses of the season that year peeked their purple and yellow flowering heads through the soil, and the April 15th tax deadline loomed, I finally took the ornaments and lights off the tree, carted it through the house, down the steps and out to my car. Then I tied it atop the roof and brought it to the landfill. By that time, the Christmas Tree section was no longer accepting trees. On the drive home, I left it in the woods.

This year I bought my first artificial tree; nothing to keep watering, nothing to keep alive. Maybe I am becoming healthier?

But…today is January 24th and my tree is still up…

Hmmm…

As Freud would say, “Ziz girl needs TREEtment.”

Moon Ladders

January 23, 2012


A few wintered nights ago, the full Wolf Moon emerged from the horizon of Cape Cod Bay casting its yellow and orange upon the sea. It was a huge moon, the biggest I’ve ever seen, its size dwarfing the landscape and its light rendering the black January sky, almost palpable. A multitude of stars pierced the darkened heavens like peepholes into another, brighter world. It was beautiful.

I was there walking on the beach with one of my favorite companions, seven-year-old Alissia Rose. She has skin the color of rich Mocha Latte, a smile I get easily lost within and an innocent heart that is sometimes the only thing I can trust. She keeps me present and sane. On this night, she looked up at me in the way only seven-year-olds pondering the deep things of life will do and asked, “I want to catch the moon. How can we catch the it?”

“I don’t know. How can we catch the moon?” I questioned back, not wanting to admit I hadn’t a clue.

She squinted her eyes into the vastness before us where the moon hung suspended by unseen physics equations that belie its beauty, and excitedly exclaimed, “I know!”

“You do?”

“Yes, I do!” she repeated now jumping up and down and as certain as her seven-year-old heart could be about anything, then began to share her discovery with me: “What you do is get a moon ladder, put it up there against the moon, climb up it, put the moon in your pocket and climb back down!”

I was amazed by her brilliance and blessed by her creativity. And then a hint of melancholy crept in to threaten the moment. I was already heartbroken by her eventual disillusionment when she realizes that there are no such things as moon ladders and never will be. Life isn’t that simple or that easy.

We stood together there on the beach, each in our own separate worlds: she climbing moon ladders and me wrapped in my painful, practical cynicism. We were silent. Then it occurred to me that disillusionment might be one of God’s greatest gifts, if we allow it. Eventually, it replaces moon ladders with aeronautics and spaceships and makes dreams solid and real.

Later, we reverently placed a crystal pitcher of water on the porch where the moon’s rays suffused it with its light, then went to bed catching the moon while we slept.

In the morning she looked at me from across the breakfast table, raised her glass to her lips, smiled that smile that takes me to a gazillion better places, and drank.

Ya’ know, maybe – just maybe – you really can catch the moon.

Concrete Moses

January 22, 2012


Yesterday, I watched a man walking the sidewalk outside the courthouse. He was draped in white from shoulders to sandaled feet and was apparently dispossessed of a coat to protect him from the biting January winds that whipped through the caverns of tall, city buildings that surrounded him. A modest length of golden tinsel, probably the treasured result of rummaged trashcans and dumpsters, encircled his head like a crown. He carried a wooden staff in his right hand that he held out before him like Moses parting the sea of people elbowing their way to other places; they were people who knew things, busy people with agendas who dressed in suits and designer clothes, who scurried into buildings, who carried briefcases in and out of meetings and who frequently glanced down at their watches in the middle of conversations. He was not one of them. No.

I stood secure inside the warmth of the building and watched him as he almost glided upon the concrete, wingless and smiling. For some reason still unknown to me, I knocked on the window to get his attention. He paused and turned toward me, then in a graceful and kingly gesture, raised his staff in recognition of my presence. We smiled at each other, and then he slowly turned from me to continue his endless journey among the city streets. This was his kingdom. He owned it; it didn’t own him. He owned it because he asked nothing from it and needed nothing from it. Then, separated only by the plate glass windows that ran the length of the façade, I walked with him down the street until I couldn’t any more.  An overwhelming sadness overtook me as he disappeared from view. I wanted to run to him and ask him why he didn’t appear cold, although the Fahrenheit approached freezing.  I wanted to ask him if he’d ever been in love or had children. I wanted to know where he got his meals and what he thought about when he woke each morning. I wanted to ask him if he still had unfulfilled dreams tucked warmly into the corners of his heart, like me.

I didn’t.

Instead, I pushed the button on the wall and waited for the elevator bell to signal its arrival on the ground floor where I stood sipping my Starbucks. Once inside, I pushed the button for the third floor where the people who know things work; busy people with agendas who wear suits and designer clothes, people who carry briefcases in and out of meetings and who frequently glance down at their watches in the middle of conversations…


    I have B- blood. Who cares, right? I discovered this during the course of my first pregnancy but knew very little about blood typing other than what I learned in elementary Science classes. Admittedly, it was difficult to absorb science instruction while staring out the window or while slipping notes to friends, and what little I did learn, not used, was quickly forgotten. Recently, I came across something online that jarred those long forgotten science lessons from long term memory into short: the negative or positive in a blood type refers to the Rh factor. We’ll say someone is then, either Rh positive or negative. But what does this Rh represent? It represents Rhesus; that’s Rhesus, as in Rhesus monkey, people. In short, people whose blood tests Rh positive, share the same protein/DNA with the Rhesus monkey. They are descended from the monkey. And conversely, people’s whose blood tests Rh negative, do not have any Rhesus monkey DNA. If Rh negative people do not come from monkeys, then where do they come from and how does science account for this anomaly? Science doesn’t account for it and can’t…at least, not yet.

One theory, in fact, the only theory is that when the Rhesus gene was passed on, it failed to copy and was dropped from the evolutionary parade, never to be seen again in the 15% of the population who are Rh-. This sounds like a viable explanation until one takes into account the problem of reproduction. An Rh negative mother’s blood will destroy her baby as a foreign substance in utero, rejecting the fetus as if it literally were another species. Nowhere else is this seen on Earth among reproducing life forms. Different species such as horses and donkeys can reproduce with each other without such disastrous effects to their fetuses, but their resultant offspring, the mule, is unable to reproduce. This is the only other similar example on the planet but still isn’t enough to serve as an accurate comparison. Is the human Rh- mother’s blood rejecting the fetus because it very simply is a different species from herself: of monkey lineage, when she is not? Have two similar but divergent life forms/species coexisted on the planet, unaware of each other’s genetic heritage for eons? This is what the Rh factor difference appears to indicate. Interestingly, Rh- people share many of the following characteristics. I happen to have all of them:

Low blood pressure, Reddish/light brown hair – blue or green eyes, High IQ, Lower body temperature, Intolerance to alcohol, Interference with electrical energy (I cannot wear an analog watch. It will stop keeping accurate time after a few days, then cease to work).

Metaphysicists are having a heyday with this Rh factor riddle. Some claim Erich von Däniken’s Chariot’s of The God’s already outlined this scenario, postulating that space men impregnated humans and then left them to populate the Earth. Some quote that enigmatic passage from Genesis 6:1-4 where the ‘Son’s of God’ impregnated the ‘daughters of men’. Some, like me, still sit and ponder. While others have been opening gifts and celebrating the New Year, I’ve been researching and wondering. Still, it is good to know that I am not a monkey, thank you very much. They sure are darn cute, though! Much cuter than space men.

We Are Our Prayers

December 24, 2011


This past year, I’ve submitted a few prayer requests to Grace Prayer Community, an online prayer line.  This prayer line is free, where some require a minimum ‘love’ gift before you are even allowed to press the submit button. I always found this practice disturbing, especially since the majority of the prayer requests are regarding finances. It’s always felt to me, like paying God to answer prayer or Divine extortion.

Once I submitted my prayer, I was given the opportunity to reciprocate praying for others by being sent the log of daily prayer requests.  There are literally thousands of them.  Thousands is good if you’re requesting prayer because as far as prayer is concerned, the more the merrier and the greater the intrinsic power. Thousands ain’t so good if you’re sincere in praying for others, because try as I might, I can only get through the first few pages. Usually, I’ll skim through them until one or two catch my eye, and then pray as the sprit leads. Some concern calamitous circumstances, their urgency dripping from the page like sweat; while others are less dismal. Some are so amusing; that if you didn’t know it was an adult writing, you’d think it was a 12-year-old writing to Santa Claus. All reveal, to some extent, the character and heart of the sender. It’s become glaringly evident to me, that we are our prayers. This particular one caught my attention today:

I ask for prayer for my dear friend, Jennifer, a divorced single mother who has been unemployed for more than two years and struggles every month to find a way to support her family.

We met this year & quickly found a friendship. Our love for each other that has deepened.

Please pray that Jennifer finds a steady job that provides enough income for her to support her family.

While I have struggles of my own, my only wish for Christmas is for the Lord to give Jenifer what she needs.

Please pray for her.

-Ron

Today – this Christmas Eve-  my prayer is that Ron has his prayer request answered.

And as that famous little Dickens’ character said, “God bless us, everyone…”

www.graceprayer.org

Angels in Subarus

December 22, 2011


There’s a famous line in the Christmas movie, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ staring Jimmy Stewart, that says, “Every time you hear a bell ring, an angel gets its wings.” When I first heard that line decades ago, it made me pause. Implicit in that statement is the question, “How did angels get from place to place before they had wings?” If they used their celestial minds to transport them here and there, why the need for wings to begin with? It wasn’t making much sense to me. Recently, I had an awakening of sorts and solved this angelic transportation conundrum: Angels drive Subarus. I know this because my friend Linda drives a Subaru.

Linda has been my dearest friend since 5th grade when, still vaguely smelling of manure from my morning stable cleaning routine, I stood up during ‘show and tell’ class clutching a horse’s bridle and reins. It was friendship at first sight. Horse people are a different breed; pun intended and embraced. Finding another horseperson, especially during the hormonal storms of adolescence, can be a saving grace at a time when peer pressure tends to squeeze prudent decision making processes from our brains like toothpaste from a tube and leaves us virtually immune to adult guidance. You have to be sensible around horses, simply because they can kill you. That’s why it’s called, ‘good horse sense’.

Linda had and still has more of that ‘good horse sense’ than me. She graduated from college with a degree in Fine Arts and married afterward; I pursued a degree but dropped out to marry. We both divorced our first husbands but not before I had birthed two children into an unwholesome situation. She remains childless by choice but has mothered enough foreign exchange students to have her own zip code. She purchased a respectable and lucrative Auction House; I worked for her. She remarried and purchased a home; I rented an apartment and remained a single parent for a time, struggling to make frayed ends meet. She and her husband Jack played polo and traveled to Europe while I watched Little League games and attended PTA meetings and counseling sessions. Her art studio is larger than some places I’ve lived. Her second husband adored her, and she him. It was a phenomenal partnership and a lengthy one based upon respect, devotion, compassion, understanding and true love; something rarely experienced in this disposable world where relationships and prescriptions share a similar expiration period. My second huband? He left me for some nebulous something else, yet to be discovered. It happens. He didn’t want to hurt me he said, but felt it best if he had to do it, to do it quickly like, ‘removing an adhesive bandage’. Somehow, I’ve erred in appreciating the bandage analogy. Yes, Linda’s life and mine have taken divergent paths over the years. Furthermore, we live states apart. Miraculously, these differences have made little difference in our friendship, but only enhanced it.

This Christmas, she’s driving her Subaru from Maryland to Massachusetts for a visit and I am as excited about that as a 5-year-old on Christmas morning. She’s bridged the miles with compassion, wired me money, cried with me when I couldn’t cry for myself anymore, pulled laughter from my gut when I thought all hope was lost, and shown me nothing but grace…angelic qualities made flesh, bone and blood.

Someone once said that friends are angels without wings. It’s true. I know because my angel drives a Subaru.

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